In recent years, psychologists and neuroscientists have discussed the psychology underlying political attitudes. Jim Everett developed a simple scale to measure political conservatism. It is only 12 items.

The challenge of this type of scale is that it is very time and location dependend. That is, what is considered political conservative in one country might not be in another, and positions and political issues change over time. This all discussed in the accompanying open access paper by Everett.

If you run a student project, you could imagine changing the items to issues in your region. For example, gun ownership is not really a major political issue in most European countries, whereas it is in North America.

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This study, the questionnaire, and the score was published in the open access journal Plos One. The paper says: "The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication."

This means that you can use it under the Creative Commons regulation (check the Creative Commons link).


This survey uses the range item. This because the scoring goes from 0-100, and this cannot be done with a normal scale item. Note that the range start value has been set to the neutral value of 50. For the calculation of the mean, the author of the scale actually divides by 10. Further, 2 items are reverse scored. For this, we use the "calc" function.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
l: secs
t: range
o: random
q: Please indicate the extent to which you feel positive or negative towards each issue.<br>
Scores of 0 indicate greater negativity, and scores of 100 indicate greater positivity.<br>
Scores of 50 indicate that you feel neutral about the issue.<br>
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Abortion
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Limited government
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Military and national security
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Religion
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Welfare benefits
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Gun ownership
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Traditional marriage
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Traditional values
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Fiscal responsibility
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Business
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} The family unit
- {min=0,max=100,start=50} Patriotism

l: scoring
t: set
- calc ( ( ( 100 - $secs.1 ) + ( 100 - $secs.5 ) + $secs.2 + $secs.3 + $secs.4 + $secs.6 + $secs.7 + $secs.8 + $secs.9 + $secs.10 + $secs.11 + $secs.12 ) / 12.0 ) / 10.0

l: feedback
t: info
q: You score {$scoring} (range 0-10) on the The 12 Item Social and Economic Conservatism Scale (SECS)<br>